Look again, people: it’s more than a few crazies – it is in fact, hordes and stampedes of crazy assholes, making the moderate minority look like nutcakes.
Case in point:
Passersby cast wary looks at a bunch of men lurking outside the entrance to the Hathazari madrasa. They stand out, having neither beards nor traditional dress. Indeed, one of them has had the bright idea of wearing a flowered shirt. For the past few weeks the madrasa in Chittagong, central Bangladesh, has been under police surveillance. It houses 12,000 Qur’anic students, guided by Shah Ahmad Shafi, who heads Hefazat-e-Islam, the country’s largest radical Islamic movement.
At his instigation over 500,000 demonstrators clogged the streets of Dhaka on 5 May, demanding the application of 13 measures, including a ban on mixing of men and women in public places, the removal of sculptures and demands for the former wording of the constitution to be reinstated, affirming “absolute trust and faith in Almighty Allah”. About 50 people were killed in clashes with police and several leaders were arrested. Since then Hefazat has avoided the media, for fear of reprisals. The government is extremely wary of a movement that has steadily gathered strength since its launch three years ago.
So when confronted with a statement like ‘demands for the former wording of the constitution to be reinstated, affirming “absolute trust and faith in Almighty Allah”’, the first move any interested party should make is to look it up, and guess what?
After Bangladesh gained independence from Pakistan, Secularism was included in the original Constitution of Bangladesh in 1972 as one of the Four State Principles, the others being Democracy, Nationalism and Socialism. In 2010, the High Court upheld the secular principles of the 1972 constitution. Bangladesh follows secular government system in democratic state. However, Bangladesh also follows combined system of state laws and individual religious laws applicable to people of respective religious group.
In fact, reading the item in question, it’s pretty unambiguous:
We, the people of Bangladesh, having proclaimed our Independence on the 26th day of March, 1971 and through a historic struggle for national liberation, established the independent, sovereign People’s Republic of Bangladesh;
Pledging that the high ideals of nationalism, democracy, socialism and secularity, which inspired our heroic people to dedicate themselves to, and our brave martyrs to sacrifice their lives in the struggle for national liberation, shall be fundamental principles of the Constitution;
As far as I can see, there’s absolutely no mention of this ‘Allah’ character in that constitution at all. In fact, that little tidbit was slipped in around 1977, and Ass-lame became the state religion in 1988. And ‘Secularity’ was replaced by this Allah fellow (peanut butter and jelly be upon his name).
And it becomes a huge mess from then on.
Politics is a disgusting mess no matter where one goes, but throwing religion into the mix is the equivalent of trying to put out a fire with gasoline.
Till the next post, then.